Are Fruit Teas Damaging Your Teeth?

These healthy alternatives to regular tea, along with snacking habits, are not without drawbacks.

It sometimes seems as though the population of the UK is divided into two halves; those who consume an unhealthy diet that is high in fats and sugars, and those whose shopping baskets may contain items such as kale, quinoa and tempeh. The truth is probably somewhere in between. One item which is becoming increasingly popular on the list of ‘healthy alternatives’ to regular beverages is fruit tea.

Although the tea drinking habit of the British is still hard wired into our thinking, there is no denying that fruit teas can provide a refreshing alternative. They also do not include tannins which, as we know from previous Cygnet Dental Practice blogs, can stain our teeth, causing them to become discoloured.

A win win situation?

Unfortunately not. A recent study has shown that those who drank fruit teas had a high rate of enamel erosion on their teeth. Whilst some other problems such as staining were avoided, any damage to the enamel is potentially serious and may lead to decay and even root canal problems.

A part of the problem it seems, is our habit of savouring the drink. Rather than swallowing it straight away, many of us leave the drink in our mouths for a little while before swallowing. Whilst this may allow us to savour the flavour, it also means that the highly acidic fruit content of the tea comes into contact with our teeth for longer periods of time. It is this which starts the erosion process of our enamel.

The snacking habit

It seems that we have become a nation of snackers. The old adage of not eating between meals seems to have gone out of the window, with many people perhaps not eating at set meal times but ‘grazing’ smaller snacks throughout the day. Whilst this may even offer health benefits if done correctly, it also means that our teeth are not allowed time to recover between meals. Normally, if we ate a sweet dessert around midday, the saliva and bacteria in our mouth would help to remove much of the sugar from around the teeth. Because we now snack a lot, our teeth may only get very short breaks before the next lot of food. This constant bombardment of acids and sugar on our teeth can be very damaging indeed.

What should we eat and drink?

It can be difficult. We have seen that one moment, for example, eggs are bad for you and then the next very good. It can be confusing to know what we should and shouldn’t eat. From a dental perspective, we would advise that you try to keep your sugar and acidic food stuffs to a minimum. If you do eat them though, and most people do, try to do this at mealtimes and avoid snacking in between where possible. Sugary drinks should also be avoided, but if you do drink these, try to use a straw as this helps the sugary liquid to bypass the teeth much better.

It should go without saying that you should also keep up your regular appointments at our Wickford dental clinic. These are important and allow us to monitor and, where applicable, treat your teeth to help them remain strong and healthy for many years to come.

Appointments at the Cygnet Dental Practice can be made by calling us on 01268 733078.